6 Top Human Resource (HR) Certifications Online in 2021

Updated on September 6th, 2020
6 Top Human Resource (HR) Certifications Online in 2021

Ever since I’ve been involved in people management, I’ve realized and always recommended an HR certification to anyone looking to expand their human resources skill set.

Yes, it’s true that anyone can gain more skills and advance their career without getting certified.

However, there’s really no replacing the hands-on knowledge and practical skills you gain through a human resources certification course.

I understand the challenges of assembling, developing, and retaining a talented pool of workers.

In fact, when I worked with Webflow, BambooHR, Gusto, and Zenefits, my first priority was to understand how to manage a team of consultants and employees. This made me realize the importance of an HR certification for career HRMs as well as company leaders looking for an edge in talent retention and management.  

In this article, I've listed the top 6 HR certification courses and exams that you can attain in 2021.

Let's check them out.

What is a HR Certification?

A Human Resources certification is a set of credentials issued by HR authorities that prove an individual’s knowledge of human resource management and strategy.

Here are some of the core competencies that you can gain from these certifications:

  • Field human resources management
  • Talent acquisition and retention
  • Employee training strategy development
  • Ongoing communication and conflict resolution
  • Creating a better employee experience via ethical and empathetic management.

These are fundamental skills that are a basic requirement for any experienced HR professional. However, each competency can be gained and applied in different ways.

That’s where HR certification comes in.

Unlike HR certificate programs for professional development, certification provides you credentials that you can use to get better HR jobs and advance your HR career faster.

The HR certifications I’ve listed here are ideal for new human resources professionals looking to gain some valuable management expertise, as well as seasoned managers and strategists looking to upskill.

Top 6 HR Certification Online Courses for 2021

HR management is a diverse field of study and a single certification might not provide all the skills you need to become a high-level HR management expert.

However, a certification can lend some invaluable knowledge (and credentials) that a regular degree may not deliver.

To give you a complete idea of all the certifications you can attain to become a bona fide HR expert, here’s a list of the top 6 online HR certification courses for 2021.

1)      One Week HR Manager by HR University

Price: $199

Rating: 5/5 

Duration: 7-day course

We rated the One Week HR Manager as the top HR certification program for new and established HR professionals.  

It’s a 7-day course that dives deep into the essentials of the HR Manager position through the lens of 2021. For that reason alone, it’s the best starter certification for anyone looking to learn new HR skills or upgrade their existing portfolio.

One Week HR Manager teaches you how to start and quickly develop your career as an HR professional.

It demonstrates how HR prospects can get hired as managers, ace job interviews, and set up a fundamental HR methodology at their new workplace.

On top of that, you learn about a variety of essential topics, such as active recruitment and strategic HR planning for the immediate future.

The course consists of over 50 lectures, interviews with HR professionals, and tons of important resources to support learning.  

To learn more about the certification, visit One Week HR Manager by HR University.

2)      Professional in Human Resources (PHR) by the HR Certification Institute

Price: $395 + $100 (application fee)

Rating: 4/5 

Duration: 3-hour exam (with requisite prep time)

Professional in Human Resources is another in-demand certification that functions as a standard for new HR officials.

PHR is a multi-faceted certification, which covers both HR program implementation and general HR functions, all while maintaining compliance with applicable employment laws and regulations.

Consisting of a 3-hour certification exam, PHR focuses on recruitment and workforce planning, employee/labor relations, business management and strategy, as well as compensation and benefits.

Established HR professionals can gain additional knowledge on risk management, business management, and company-wide HR strategy.

Although PHR is viable for anybody in the HR field, it is limited to human resource management within the US. Furthermore, all HRCI certification requires at least a bachelor’s degree with two years of HR experience or a master’s degree with one year of experience.

The biggest advantage of the PHR certification is that it opens doors for the HRCI Associate Professional in Human Resources (APHR), Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR), and Global Professional in Human Resources (GPHR) certifications.

To learn more about the certification, visit Professional in Human Resources by the HR Certification Institute.

3)      SHRM-CP (Certified Professional) by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM)

SHRM-CP (Certified Professional) by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM)

Price: $300 for members, $400 for non-members 

Rating: 4/5 

Duration: 4-hour (with requisite prep time)

Society for Human Resource Management Certified Professional (SHRM-CP) is a set of credentials provided by the acclaimed SHRM, for new HR professionals.

As part of the SHRM learning system, the Certified Professional certification covers all the core competencies of a modern HR professional operating in a corporate HR role.

Focusing on standard HR tasks, as well as strategic service delivery and policy implementation, SHRM-CP is beneficial for professionals looking to get into the strategy and policymaking side of HR. 

SHRM-CP certification as a whole is based on knowledge and situational judgment.

This gives certified professionals a unique outlook on real-time conflict resolution and decision-making on employee matters. You'll also learning about the latest HR technology from employee onboarding software to HR analytics software.

HR professionals can apply for SHRM certification during the spring or winter application windows. Additionally, once you clear the fundamental certification, you'll automatically fulfill the eligibility requirements for the SHRM Senior Certified Professional - SHRM-SCP exam.

To learn more about CP and SHRM-SCP certification, visit SHRM Certified Professional by the Society for Human Resource Management.

4)      Strategic HR Leadership (SHRL) by the Human Capital Institute

Price: $995

Rating: 3/5

Duration: 2-day program

Strategic HR Leadership is an advanced certification that’s designed to upskill HR department heads, turning them into HR leaders and Executive HR Generalists.

The course provides an in-depth look into employee engagement and development strategy.

It’s designed with HR team management and leadership in mind and provides a number of tools and resources to help senior HR officials better manage their leadership roles and responsibilities.

The primary focus of the program is on team performance management, improvement, and inter-department communication.

SHRL prepares senior HRMs for a future in implementing agile and efficient HR methodologies, as well as developing dynamic, cross-functional teams.

The program comes with a variety of tools and resources that you can start using immediately to upgrade your own, as well as, your team’s performance.

To learn more about SHRL, visit Strategic HR Leadership by the Human Capital Institute.

5)      Talent Management Practitioner by the Talent Management Institute

Talent Management Practitioner 

Price: $625

Rating: 3/5

Duration: 2-hour exam (with requisite prep time)

Talent Management Practitioner is an alternative to the standard HR certification.

It’s a specialized qualification that targets fresh HR talent looking to build a career in talent acquisition and management. However, it’s equally useful as an additional qualification, on top of a graduate degree in HR.

The TMP certification will help you build a solid hiring and retention framework within your company.

Additionally, it will teach you how to develop talent management strategies, practices, and models for a business of any size.

The Talent Management Institute has a marked reputation for creating industry-leaders in talent management. Their unique talent management system delivers unique insights into the demands of the modern workforce. This helps qualified talent managers maintain a positive retention record while helping build a rewarding employee experience.

To learn more about the certification, visit Talent Management Practitioner by the Talent Management Institute.

6)      Certified Professional in Learning and Performance (CPLP) by the Association for Talent Development

Certified Professional in Talent Development

Price: $900 for members, $1,250 for non-members 

Rating: 2/5 

Duration: 3-hour exam (with requisite prep time)

The Certified Professional in Learning and Performance certification is an advanced set of credentials aimed at HRMs looking to gain expertise in training and development.

CPLP is different from other talent training and management certifications due to its focus on improving employee performance via hands-on training.

The certification guarantees an HR professional’s expertise in ten different areas, including training delivery, learning technologies, instructional design, coaching, change management, and learning model development.

To learn more about the certification, visit Certified Professional in Learning and Performance by the Association for Talent Development.

Get an HR Certification to Further Your Career

HR certifications are one of the best ways to learn new human resources methodologies and diversify your work experience. 

Furthermore, because they are independent qualifications, you can always apply for recertification if the program evolves or the global HR landscape goes through a shift.

No matter how many years of experience you have in HR, chances are, there's always something new you can learn. 

While all the courses on this list will have some unique insight or knowledge to deliver, I personally recommend the One Week HR Manager certification. The course structure and resource diversity make it ideal for fresh HR graduates and seasoned veterans alike.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here's a list of some of the most common HR certification questions.

What is a human resource certification?

A human resource certification is a way to prove that you have the knowledge, skills, and experience required for a specific human resource job. The type of certification will depend on what your profession is.

What types of HR certifications are there?

There is no universal human resource certification because each one will depend on what type you're looking for. In the blog post above, we went over some of the common certifications and types from HR management to HR professional.

What are the best HR certifications?

The best HR certifications are the ones that show employers that you have the necessary knowledge and skills for a particular HR job. A couple of these certification include the HR Manager Certification by HR University or Professional in Human Resources Designation (PHR).

How do I become HR certified?

To become HR certified you need to take a course that has a certification test. The list above includes courses that have tests to certify your new HR knowledge.

How much do HR certifications cost?

HR certification cost varies depending on the course and test you choose. Some cost a low fee of $199 while others can be around $6000+ or more.